Live Q&ARE w/ Desk Crits authors Tess McNamara & Sam Zeif

Tap into the minds of two licensed experts who literally wrote the book on how to pass the ARE. Tess and Sam, both Yale School of Architecture graduates and recently licensed architects, share their survival stories and best tips in Desk Crits: The Insider’s Guide to the A.R.E 5.0. With 150 visually stimulating pages of curated material, they provide a clear framework for how to tackle the chaos of studying for all six divisions of the ARE.

Architectural Digest took notice and is giving them some well-deserved props too. Don’t miss an opportunity to ask your burning questions related to studying from people who were just in your shoes, and made it through to the other side.

By the way, you can get $10 off Desk Crits: The Insider’s Guide to the A.R.E. 5.0 if you use code SPECTACLES10 at checkout.


This Live Q&ARE is now over, but feel free to look through the comments below, there’s a lot of great advice about taking the ARE!

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Studying for PcM, in AHPP there’s a lot of info that’s out of the topics. What’s the best method to study this heavy book and get the most outcome. Is there a ready made Q&A or flashcards for each sub-chapter ?

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I’m just starting down the whole ARE journey. Do you have any tips for me on timing my exams? What are the baseline books I should get before I start?

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What is your approach to studying details (PPD, PDD, CA)? There is such a wide range it’s hard to know where to start! And how specific to get with each category.

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Hey you guys, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for those of us still finishing up our exams!

What advice might you give to someone getting ready to study, again, for an exam they have taken and failed? Or, to those who are already familiar with an exam topic and might not necessarily need to study it in its entirety?

I felt confident in my knowledge of the content, previously, and am not quite sure how to begin studying again!

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Hi guys! Do you have any tips for navigating the ADA Standards? Are there certain sections you recommend focusing on more than others? Thanks!

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Could each of you say what your biggest priority would be when studying for PPD, if you could only pick one topic to prioritize?

(I realize this is somewhat of an impossible question but I’m curious to hear which content area popped out for each of you when taking this particular exam!)

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What are some rules of thumb dimensions, codes, or anything that are helpful to keep in the back of your mind? For time management per question or answering questions in general… Does DeskCrits provide lists/graphs/tables of what I’m describing?

i.e. from the PA videos, Mike spoke of 9’ x19’ as a good estimation for car park width.

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I’m getting ready to start my tests and I assume because you are featured here because you used black spectacles! How did you use it to study and how do Desk Crits + Black Spectacles work together?

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Will this be video be saved anywhere? I would love to watch it later.

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I was wondering if you could share your study habits with us. I read that once your getting at least 70% on your practice tests its time to go take the test. My highest score so far is a 51%. I really need help in knowing how to study. I also heard that you need to learn how to take the test as well meaning interpreting the question and what they are asking? Is this true and how can we study for this?

Thank you for your help

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Hi how do i know this is live? Do i go somewhere else to see the live discussion?

Hey @luisr,

Tess and Sam will be online in about an hour answering questions. So feel free to post any questions you have now, or you can wait until they show up. They’ll be here for an hour so the window will be 6pm - 7pm Central Time. The discussion takes place here in this thread.

Oh i see. ok Thank you.

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Hi Tess and Sam

The guide seems very interesting. I was wondering what has been the success rate of the people that have bought the Guide? And maybe if you have any feed back from people that have bought the Guide would be nice?
Also is the Guide just a 1 time purchase?

Thank you for your time.

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Hi there! The book looks great. Can you please talk about some of the supplemental material you reference – whether it’s other books or practice exams to purchase or free material? Thank you!

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Yes, I’d love to watch this video later as well! Sadly, I won’t be able to make the actual discussion time. Please let us know, thanks!

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I recently took the ARE PjM and got (3) level three’s and (2) level twos. Do I need to get only three level three’s to pass the section?

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@kirkmhenderson @crogers Sorry, to be clear, there is no video. It’s a Q&A here in the thread, so they’ll post their responses here. If there’s interest we can possibly look into making a video in the future!

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Any advice on timing for finishing up these exams.
4wks - 6 wks for all 6 exams would work?

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